Textling #100

A tribute to

Mag Friel

2.

Mag’s capacity for deep communion, care, and laughter in the midst of hardship was immense. She stayed in touch with friends through fantastically abbreviated text messages. Notes written on kitchen roll were precious. Even more so the occasional voice recording – words barely louder than a breath. Her inner liveliness, her fierce intelligence, her willpower, her curiosity and wit, shone through her arduous, yet often joyful utterances.

She craved visits, but could seldom manage them. Even minutes spent in silence by her bedside left her depleted and worsened symptoms for weeks. What a fight it was to be alive! I don’t know how Mag endured. Her faith certainly sustained her. In our local M.E. group she was known as a prayer warrior who would plead for you or a loved one. People who had never met her were moved by her generosity of spirit, her desire to be part of a community, to be of use. I felt more supported by her than anyone else.

To her great distress Mag lost the ability to text, although messages were still read out to her. Unable to communicate with the outside world, without hope for reprieve from constant agony, as experienced by so many patients with severe M.E. who suffer mostly out of sight, Mag took that final step.

We are all diminished by her loss. Missing her has only just begun.

 

Audio when I can

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Textling #99

A tribute to

Mag Friel
10 October 1953 – 31 December 2017

1.

We never cooked a meal together, linked arms, kicked autumn leaves on Peckham’s streets; never walked along the Seine, crossed Brooklyn Bridge, took train, bus, boat wherever; never dipped toes into the freezing sea in January or any other month; never talked all night, never cried together, although we often felt we might; never heard each other laugh, though laugh we did, out loud, almost in unison. At our best we made up stories, travelled North, South, East, West (to Ambridge too), sent messages from bedstead, sofa, blanket on the floor; shared desperate times, hers always so much worse than mine, and small delights, until the short supply of hope ran out and there was naught, zilch, nothing left for Mag but the brute force of M.E. in its severest form – fatigue that totally incapacitates and isolates, and leaves the sufferer with increasingly uncontainable symptoms and atrocious physical pain 24/7, in a room with curtains permanently closed.

For years Mag lived life on the point of a needle.

She took her life on 31 December 2017.

 

Audio